BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – Switzerland's Lara Gut set the speed pace for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships with victory in the both the Nature Valley Raptor downhill and super G on Saturday. Leanne Smith (North Conway) earned the best result for the U.S. Ski Team with 23rd, which came as perfect weather blanketed the thousands on hand in Beaver Creek for the second straight day of Audi FIS Alpine World Cup racing.
Gut has now won three of the first four Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races to start the Olympic season.
While Smith was 23rd teammates Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, Calif.) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, Calif.) also earned World Cup points with 28th and 29th, respectively.
"The snow is awesome," Smith said as she praised the course. "It's really responsive and grippy. It's a good course; just one that I think I very much over-skied. Super G is all about pinning the line and really pushing yourself to be uncomfortable, to be on the edge. Next time hopefully I can be more aggressive and more athletic with the line. That's ski racing and that's life so I'm just going to move onto the next one and know that I'm making some really good turns. It's a long season so you can't get too bent out of shape in the first race series. I'm looking forward to Lake Louise and progressing from there."
You can check out Smith's run here: http://alpine.usskiteam.com/news/gut-sweeps-raptor-speed-series
Gut won the race in a time of 1:18.42 while Anna Fenninger, of Austria, was second in 1:19.34; and Nicole Hosp, also of Austria, rounded out the top three in third in 1:19.53.
Smith finished in 1:21.14 followed by fellow Americans Cook, 28th, 1:21.36; Mancuso, 29th, 1:21.43; Julia Ford, 35th, 1:22.22; Megan McJames, 43rd, 1:23.55; and Anna Marno and Jacqueline Wiles did not finish the first run.
Asked if there is anything the speed team needs to adjust prior to next season's World Championships, Smith said they have effectively prepared for technical courses.
"Portillo is really challenging in September," she said. "It doesn't get more difficult than that, especially at that time of the season. At Copper, it's such a nice venue. It makes you feel so good. It has some little challenging parts to it. ... Obviously, not everywhere you go is going to be super challenging like this, but we have the best downhill/super G training of any team."
"...I don't know that there's more pressure racing at home," she added. "You just have a higher standard. There are a lot of people cheering for you, so you have these high standards for yourself — or at least I do. ... I know how this (course) runs now. I know how the snow feels. Just because we had a bad weekend — some may say a bad weekend, I suppose — I call it a learning experience. You can't kick ass every single weekend."
In Friday's downhill, which Smith had been considered by many as a podium contender after having "shown absolute brilliance on the Raptor steeps" according to Doug Haney, chief press officer for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, she did not finish the race.
"Leanne had a cooker going, hooked a fluke edge and slid out in a puff of snow over the Red Tail finish jump," Haney said. "Not exactly the ideal way to end the only women's downhill in America. She stood up, slid into the finish and pulled up her goggles. The thousands on the snowy beach that was the finish roared. She likely didn't hear the cheers. Then this happened.
"The race ended," he continued. "The masses flowed out of the finish and into Beaver Creek Village. Pretty sure most of them got in line at the Smartwool shop for a 4 p.m. athlete autograph session. The athlete was Leanne. The line was around the corner and across the covered bridge. Now that's love. ...From what I could see, another 6-7,000 were at the super G bib presentation. The cheer for Julia was deafening. 'I wish we could race here every November,' said Stacey at breakfast this morning. The organization and support is amazing."
Last Updated on Monday, 02 December 2013 04:56
NEWTON, Mass., — On the heels of being named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, Lasell College's Michael Skelton has also been chosen to play in the 2013 NEISL All-Star Game on Dec. 1.
"Congratulations to Mike Skelton and Nery Guerra for being selected to the 2013 NEISL All Star Game," Coach Giovanni Pacini said. "This group represents the players voted on by all D III coaches in New England as the very best players in the region; an outstanding honor.
Skelton and Guerra will represent Lasell in the Division III NEISL All Star Game at noon on Dec. 1 at Harvard. The Division I and II All Stars will square off in a match following that contest.
Skelton led the GNAC in goals with 23 and points with 48, setting a new Lasell single season record for in both categories. He became the program's all-time leading goal scorer in the GNAC quarterfinals against Rivier, becoming the first player in team history to score 50 goals, finishing with 56 for his outstanding career.
Skelton, a 2008 Kennett High graduate, is the son of Jody and John Skelton of Conway.
Faced with the impending graduation of his program's all-time leading goal scorer Pacini didn't hesitate to pinpoint what the loss will mean. "We'll miss a likable young man. He is through and through a kind, honest, polite, hard-working young man. His career has featured goals, leadership and outstanding academic achievement. Yes, we'll miss the goals, but we'll miss the young man more."
He is bigger, stronger, and faster than he was when he was terrorizing opposing hockey players on the New Hampshire high school circuit. He has sported a beard during his senior year that is on par with any you'll see come NHL playoff time. His physicality, work ethic and toughness as an athlete would make Claude Julien proud. The reality that, in the history of the men's soccer program at Lasell College there hasn't been anyone better at putting the ball in the net than Skelton is an amazing accomplishment. The fact that he will be remembered more for the person he was in his time on the Newton, Mass. campus than the number of times he put the ball in the net shows just how special a student-athlete Skelton has been.
Lasell finished 17-4-2 on the year, reaching the ECAC final for the first time in program history.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 05:06
CONWAY — Kearsage native Kevin Murphy took to the collegiate ice last week playing in his first hockey game for Assumption College.
Wearing No. 14, Murphy took the ice last Wednesday playing right defense at Stonehill. The hosts beat the Greyhounds 3-0. Stonehill out-shot Assumption 51-20 in the contest.
Murphy verbally committed to play hockey for the Worchester, Mass. last spring after playing a season of junior hockey for the Laconia Leafs.
Assumption is off to an 0-2-1 start in conference play and is 1-4-1 overall.
The six foot 175 pound forward played in a team high 41 games last season for the Leafs. He netted seven goals and 13 assists for Laconia.
The Greyhounds finish last season with a 7-16-2 record.
Assumption plays in the Northeast-10 Conference along with Saint Anselm, Franklin Pierce, Southern New Hampshire, Stonehill and Saint Michael's.
Murphy, who is one of three Granite Staters (sophomore Ryan Sargent, from Prospect Mountain, and junior Joe Arcieri, of St. Thomas) on this year's team, is majoring in marketing.
Murphy, who graduated from Kennett High in 2012, is the Eagles all-time leading scorer. He captained the Eagles to the state championship two years ago.
Murphy was named the Division III Hockey Player of the Year in March 2012. He was the second player in Kennett High history to win the award.
Goalie Ricky Gaudreau, now in the U.S. Marines and deployed to the Middle East last year, earned the award in 2010.
Murphy won three state championships as an Eagle. He was also a three-time NH Division III All State player. Murphy, who was named the Division III Player of the Year in 2012, ended his Kennett High career with three state championships and leaves as the team's all-time point scorer with 170.
Murphy led Division III in scoring with 55 points this senior season.
Murphy and his new teammates are scheduled to return to action Tuesday night when they host Johnson & Wales.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 04:54
HANOVER, Ind. — The Colby College men's cross country team finished 22nd in the country and Silas Eastman had the best finish for the Mules at the NCAA Division III Championships at Hanover College on Saturday.
The Mules had a team score of 529 in the 32-team field. The Mules beat New England Region rivals MIT and Bates. St. Olaf won the team title.
Eastman had a time of 25 minutes, 52.6 seconds over the 8-kilometer course. Charlie Coffman was 104th out of 275 finishers in 25:55.3, David Chelimo took 110th with a 25:58.3, and Jeff Hale placed 138th in 26:11.1.
Colby was making its first-ever team appearance at the NCAA meet.
Connecticut College's Michael LeDuc won the individual national title with a 24:29.3 clocking.
2013 NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships
1. St. Olaf, 84; 2. North Central 86; 3. Wisconsin-La Crosse 155; 4. Washington (Mo.) 167; 5. Williams 218; 6. Central 240; 7. Middlebury 297; 8. Dickinson 298; 9. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 305; 10. Haverford 351; 11. Johns Hopkins 355; 12. Wisconsin-Oshkosh 357; 13. Cortland 401; 14. Luther 413; 15. Geneseo 430; 16. Carleton 442; 17. Tufts 446; 18. Allegheny 507; 19. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 519; 20. New York University 521; 21. Wabash 526; 22. Colby 529; 23. Pomona-Pitzer 533; 24. MIT and Bates 541; 26. Loras 543; 27. Calvin 589; 28. Chicago 625; 29. St. Lawrence 655; 30. Manchester 721; 31. Bridgewater 778; 32. Emory 844
96. Silas Eastman, 25:52.6; 104. Charlie Coffman, 25:55.3; 110. David Chelimo, 25:58.3; 138. Jeff Hale, 26:11.1; 254. Will McCarthy, 27:22.7; 259. Griffin Gagnon, 27:42.2; 263. Chris Greenlee, 27:48.1.
Eastman had exactly two days to recover from his cross country success before the team headed to Canada to begin training for the winter cross country ski season.
Eastman, who lives in Chatham and was a standout at Fryeburg Academy, was named the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram's Male Athlete of the Year in June. He was lauded for being named the newspaper's cross country runner of the year in 2011 and skier of the year in 2012 and 2013.
Eastman, undefeated in Nordic skiing last winter, was described by his coach John Weston as a "rising tide that lifts all ships."
Eastman said he intends to continue with cross country and skiing at Colby, where he plans to pursue a self-designed major in furniture design. He said his long-term dream goal is to make the U.S. Olympic ski team.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 04:25
Ian White and his Boston College teammates increased their bowl stock in style on Saturday with a thrilling last second victory on the road at Maryland. Senior kicker Nate Freese booted a 52-yard field goal with two seconds to play to lift the Eagles to a 29-26 victory.
The win was the fourth in a row BC who improved to 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. It was the final ACC home game for the Terrapins (6-5, 2-5), who shift to the Big Ten in 2014.
White sees his team as "playing good football (right now). We are definitely a power running team on offense. We will pound to gain control of the line of scrimmage, keep possession for long periods of time, and give our defense good field position."
White and his teammates once again took control of the line of scrimmage and paved the way for another huge rushing day for multi-talented running back Andre Williams. He rushed for 263 yards to become the 16th player in NCAA history to top 2,000 in a single season. Williams, who now has 2,073 yards on the ground this year, pulled the Eagles to within 24-20 on his second touchdown with 10:33 left, and his 36-yard run in the closing seconds set up Freese's game winner.
Only six players in history have rushed for more yards through the first 11 games of a season than Williams. For each of the six players above Williams in that total - Barry Sanders (2,628), Marcus Allen (2,342), Troy Davis (2,185), LaDainian Tomlinson (2,158), Ricky Williams (2,124) and Byron Hanspard (2,084) — 11 games represented their full regular season
This season White has made the switch from right guard to right tackle in anchoring the BC offensive line. A self described "tweener body type," White was shorter than the 2012 BC tackles, but shifted from guard to help the team place the five strongest linemen on the field this season.
As an Eagle captain, White feels it has affected his approach to the game very little, stating "I was elected because of who I was. So there was no need to change. I just look to bring guys along, to bring guys together, and to be who I am."
The Eagles are scheduled to wrap up the regular season this Saturday (3:30 p.m.) in the Carrier Dome when they travel to Syracuse (5-6). The Orange lost at home 17-16 to the Pitt Panthers on Saturday. Maryland wraps up its ACC schedule next week at North Carolina State.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 04:19